KING CITY — King City’s Accelerated Access Rail Platform and Multi-Modal Transit Center has received a significant first step in funding after the California Transportation Commission approved to reserve $7.5 million from the Interregional Improvement Program for the project on March 16.
“This is amazing,” said Mayor Mike LeBarre, who has been actively pursuing funding for the rail station. “It’s an exciting time for our city… We could not have made it this far without the strong support from Caltrans, CalSTA, Amtrak and all our regional partners.”
A total of $28 million is needed for construction of Phase I of the Multi-Modal Transit Center, which would bring back passenger rail service to the area that ended in the 1940s. According to City Manager Steve Adams, the Commission’s contribution to the project can be leveraged to help the city obtain the additional funding.
“City staff has done an amazing job making progress on this complex project, which has truly been a team effort working with all our partners to bring new mobility opportunities for our region that will benefit the residents of our underserved rural community,” Adams said.
Amtrak intends to use the King City platform for the Coast Starlight, which runs from Los Angeles to Seattle, Wash. Phase I consists of the construction of the accelerated rail platform, rail realignment, parking lot and staging area for Fort Hunter Liggett, which serves as a training facility in South Monterey County for all U.S. military service branches and hosts about 50,000 visitors and soldiers each year.
“The city has been working on this since 2006, and our project will reestablish the historic 1886 passenger rail station, King Station, and provide new rail access to travelers on the Central Coast,” said City Engineer Octavio Hurtado.
The Multi-Modal Transit Center is intended to increase connectivity and access to jobs and services benefiting low-income and underserved minority communities, as well as provide new housing opportunities and promote economic development. In addition, it will support Fort Hunter Liggett’s resiliency goals and the U.S. Army’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability efforts to reduce emissions and its carbon footprint.
“The MMTC will enhance our economic development efforts while providing an alternative to vehicular travel, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, and improving air quality,” said Doreen Liberto-Blanck, the city’s community development director.
The project has received support from such organizations as Fort Hunter Liggett, Transportation Agency for Monterey County, Monterey-Salinas Transit, Monterey Bay Air Resources District, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, Monterey County Board of Supervisors, Coast Rail Coordinating Council and the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments.
I remember talking to a lady from San Ardo who took the train back and forth each day for high school in King City.